As an introvert being an Otaku can become lonely at times. When most of your friends aren’t Otaku themselves it can become difficult sharing your interest or passion with them. Even when I’m in an area with other Otaku, say at a convention, I find it very difficult to walk up to someone and say that their cosplay looks nice or ask them what their favourite anime is. This is something that I have struggled with for most of my life and this came full circle when I had to shoot my Free Comic Book Day video.
Before I went to Free Comic Book Day, I had the whole day planned and set up: I knew what shots I wanted to get, how many people I wanted to interview and so on – I couldn’t wait to start filming. The day came and the total opposite happened. I saw many potential people that I wanted to interview: cosplayers, stall owners, attendees but I was too afraid to go up and ask them for an interview. I felt as though I was going to be a nuisance to them or that I would disturb them from whatever they were doing – I was just intimidated by my surroundings.
My sister and girlfriend were with me and they saw how anxious and nervous I was to ask people for an interview. They kept telling me, “Don’t be afraid to ask, they won’t bite.” While that was true, I still couldn’t muster up the courage to go up to someone. Luckily, while shooting some footage, a good friend of mine, who was cosplaying at the event, came and saw that I looked lost. I told her that I was shooting a video and that I needed people to interview. She quickly went and introduced me to her cosplay friends; telling them about my video and asking if they wanted to help. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have made the video that I did today.
The point of my story is to highlight how terrible my social anxiety is, especially in a familiar and comfortable setting like a convention. I always wanted to have friends who were into anime and gaming, just like me, but I still feel like I don’t belong. I see many Otaku with their circle of friends and I think to myself, “I wish I could be part of that conversation” or “I wish I had friends like those.” When I do manage to have a conversation with someone I feel a sense of accomplishment on my part, especially when it’s a stimulating one.
Cosplayers, who I feel embody what it means to be an Otaku, are the ones I have the most problems talking to. I don’t know, I just feel intimidated by their presence. As much as I want to tell them how awesome their outfit looks, I simply can’t bring myself to – especially when it comes to famous and well known cosplayers. I feel that because I don’t cosplay myself, I feel left out of everything happening in the anime and geek community. When I hear about cosplay picnics or cosplay events happening in my area and how excited people get, it just saddens me that I cannot be a part of it.
I hope that one day I may have the courage to go up to someone and say “I like your Ichigo cosplay” or “Assassination Classroom is also my favourite anime at the moment.” What do you think? Do you or anyone you know have this sort of issue as well or am I the only one who feels this way?
[For those who noticed: yes, I got my title from a Metallica song]